This guide will help you get published, either in mainstream news outlets or on our blog. We look forward to reading your work! Read on for details.
How You’ll Make a Difference for Animals
For every letter or comment a station or publication receives, it is assumed that a great number of other people feel the same way but didn’t bother to comment. I have heard the number of voices for which they assume each comment or letter speaks estimated at a low of 50 and a high of 500.
The letters to the editor page is one of the most widely read pages of most papers – national and local. As letters pages and comments sections are seen by decision makers as barometers of public opinion, your letter or comment may have more impact than you can imagine.
Sometimes [someone] has written something we find so upsetting we feel [they] deserve to be insulted. That’s when we have to remember that… most of us used to eat meat. We changed our ways because somebody showed us a different way of looking at things, not because they insulted us. If we alienate someone who may have eventually, even years down the line, become a supporter, we vent our anger at the expense of animals.
Do not lose the opportunity to pay a compliment. Then, gently point out the current problem, making sure you tackle the issue, not the person you are writing to. Remember that anger tends to put people on the defensive whereas a friendly pointer can get a hearing and have real impact on future work.
Excerpt from DawnWatch, DawnWatch.com
Writing for the Animals
- Set up Google Alerts for topics you’re interested in writing about, including “Minnesota animal agriculture”, “Minnesota animal rights”, “Minnesota vegan”, “Minnesota Factory Farm”, and any others
- Carefully read the specific guidelines of the publication you’re writing for. Decide if you’ll write a letter or an op-ed.
- Write an op-ed tying your experience or research into current events. (Most local editors have a soft word limit of 700 words.)
- Star Tribune letters: 250 words or less.
- Pioneer Press letters: 150 words or less.
- Another choice is commenting on the article online.
- Tone: Avoid blaming or shaming people for their either current or past consumption of animal products. Use a welcoming tone that makes people want to join our movement.
- Use the first paragraph to hook the reader with something surprising or emotionally-charged. Here are two examples: Sentient Media and Star Tribune.
- If applicable, name the article you’re responding to and provide facts from another source.
- Name your source.
- Credible industry and non-animal rights sources are useful.
- Use your own experiences and voice; positivity and humor can draw your reader in; work to build connection with your audience.
- Encourage reader action (and possibly action from public officials) in one or more of these ways: voting on an issue, attending an event, following a Facebook page, reducing consumption, etc.
- As stated above, please be mindful to avoid shaming people for their either current or past consumption of animal products. This is a stressful time for all. We want to communicate the impact of consuming animal products on animals, the environment, our communities, and our own health with a focus on positivity that encourages people to join in. We don’t want people to be alienated and isolate or remove themselves from being part of the solution. We can do this through sharing ways we can improve the world together while taking care of our own and our community’s well being.
Development and Publication
- Let us know about your piece and if you want to workshop it with us by emailing a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org or let us know if you have already sent it in.
- If your work is published, please email us and, if it follows our guidelines, we will share it on social media.
- If your work is not published by an external news source, we will consider publishing it on our blog if it follows our guidelines.